Space for Space Balls

Quick info on tolerances for space balls in raised-panel doors. January 10, 2006

Just wondering how much room everyone leaves for Spaceballs on a basic oak raised panel door. After 25 years and thousands of doors, I decided to try them to eliminate panel rattle. I found out my usual 1/8 to 3/16" isn't enough as I blew out the backside of my stiles when clamping up my first door. The rest of the batch I only put the balls in on one side, which seemed okay (though panels are probably off center, which no one will know but me). What do you guys do with these things?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor T:
5/16" total works for me.

From contributor J:
I don't see why 3/16 on either side would not work. I've used 1/4" total before and not had any problems. I would not use the Spaceballs on only one side... To me, the Spaceballs are just as important in keeping glue off of the edge of your panels as expansion. Using them on only one side will allow your panel to be glued to your frame, causing it to split out.

From contributor Y:
The requirement that is recommended is 5/32" for each Spaceball, or 5/16 total. The Spaceball now is .26 soft and works great, as it doesn't fall out. CSH hardware has the specs on their website, so you will see the offerings.